The incidence of HIV-associated dementia has declined dramatically since the introduction of potent combined antiretroviral therapy; however, milder forms of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) persist. Some 30 to 50 % of HIV-infected individuals have HAND. With an increasing proportion of HIV-infected individuals at risk of HAND, the development of a treatment and mapping of pathology is critical. Now, a study from researchers at the University of Minnesota shows that the HIV protein transactivator of transcription (Tat) alters the activity of networked neurons and that the network adapted to the presence of the toxin. The team state that Tat alters the excitability of networked neurons by a process that requires binding to cell surface proteins, and the activity of the networked neurons adapted in the sustained presence of the HIV protein. The study is published in the journal Current HIV Research.
Previous studies show the HIV-1 transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein is released by infected cells and contributes to the pathogenesis of HAND, however, many of the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Also, infection with HIV is associated with increased incidence of new-onset seizures in a significant percentage of patients, once again the specific cause of seizure disorders remains unknown. The current study work establishes the principle that networks of neurons adapt to the presence of a toxic HIV protein and suggest that viewing EEG changes as an adaptive response might facilitate therapeutic intervention.
Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.
Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.
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Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.
Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.
An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.